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Edward Robert Hughes (1851-1914)
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Edward Robert Hughes (1851-1914)

Byram's Tryst

Details
Edward Robert Hughes (1851-1914)
Byram's Tryst
signed 'ER Hughes.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
23 3/8 x 17¼ in. (59.4 x 43.8 cm.)
Exhibited
Artists and Models, 1998, no. 14.
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis

Lot Essay

The subject has not been identified, but the picture is reminiscent of Hughes's illustrations to The Nights of Straparola, a collection of folk tales and fables by the obscure Italian author Gian Francesco Straparola (d. 1557), translated by W.G. Waters and published in 1894. The original of one illustration was sold in these Rooms on 29 October 1991, lot 15.

Many of the stories are rabelaisian, so much so that the book was considered offensive to Counter-Reformation sensibilities and placed on the Index in 1624; and Hughes's illustrations reflect this tendency to a remarkable degree. It is possible, therefore, that the present work was conceived for the project but rejected as too salacious.

Byram is not of course an Italian name, but the title could have been changed or the name mis-spelt. A puzzle, calling for further research.

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